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Latest News / 35 years of building enterprising futures



Shell’s flagship enterprise development programme, Shell LiveWIRE, is celebrating 35 years as the catalyst for the global development of young innovative entrepreneurs who are driving economic growth, delivering clean energy solutions and powering human progress.

Since its inception in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1982, as a response to the high youth employment rate at the time, Shell LiveWIRE has enabled thousands of young entrepreneurs to start and scale-up sustainable businesses, creating employment and benefiting local economies and communities around the world.

With the vision to strengthen local economies by developing entrepreneurship, innovation and meaningful employment, Shell LiveWIRE programmes are currently operating in 15 countries and are delivered in eight languages.

In order to mark this milestone, Shell LiveWIRE produced a special 35th anniversary promotional website and video to provide a flavour of the programme’s impact, including interviews with four Shell LiveWIRE alumni from around the world, and the thoughts of Jo Cochrane, VP Social Performance at Shell.

Creating jobs and meaningful employment

Featured on the Shell Global website, the video includes an interview with the first national LiveWIRE winner, Stewart Graham, from North West Scotland, who started off producing lobster creels for local fishermen and 33 years later runs Gael Force, a global marine supplies business employing over 150 staff, with a turnover of US $24.5m.

Stewart is grateful that LiveWIRE was around to help him develop his lobster creel business in 1983, saying, “Shell LiveWIRE provided me, as an 18-year-old, with the focus to think through and present my business, which was a skill and discipline which was very useful.”

Gael Force is a good example of the impact Shell LiveWIRE alumni, over the decades, have had in creating jobs and contributing to economic growth, a point which Jo Cochrane is proud to underline, saying, “LiveWIRE is very important to Shell because when you help local entrepreneurs to set up businesses, they create long-term sources of income for communities, they create jobs and they help to find innovative solutions to social and economic problems.”

Shell supply chain

Jo Cochrane emphasises that Shell LiveWIRE is not just about Shell being a responsible corporate citizen, saying, “LiveWIRE is much more than corporate social responsibility for Shell. When you mobilise entrepreneurs to start businesses, Shell benefits in very many ways.

“First of all, they frequently find their way into our supply chain providing goods and services, either directly or indirectly. They often help us to deliver on our purpose of providing more and clean energy, and supporting the energy transition in countries where we operate.

“But crucially, they help our neighbouring communities to diversify economically, which in the long term makes them less dependent on oil and gas, but also makes them more resilient to whatever the future may hold.”

One young entrepreneur, supported by LiveWIRE Brunei’s Energy Programme, has grown his business to secure a US $24m contract with Shell Brunei. Johari Bin Brahim’s business, Teamone Environmental Technologies, supplies vacuum tanker, forklift and manpower services, providing employment for some 350 local workers.

Commenting on the support that the Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Energy Programme provided to Teamone, Rosita Hassan, Supply Chain Leader, Shell Brunei, said, “Shell LiveWIRE provided guidance on how Teamone could establish quality services at competitive market rates. The LiveWIRE Brunei Energy Programme delivers this through its 12-module programme covering, HSE, Financial and Quality Management, and how to participate in Shell tenders.”

During 2016, 353 businesses started-up with the support of Shell LiveWIRE and 26 businesses entered Shell’s supply chain, providing a range of goods and services, and contributing to local content development, including: McNetiq from the Netherlands; bio-bean from the UK; and, TMS Mobile Spa from South Africa.

Energy solutions

Many of the businesses that Shell LiveWIRE programmes target for support are innovative enterprises focused on providing energy solutions. Solar entrepreneur Henrique Drumond, approached Shell Iniciativa Jovem, the LiveWIRE programme in Brazil, to launch his business, Insolar, to connect low-income communities to solar power.

Insolar is now collaborating with Shell’s #makethefuture programme to provide affordable energy for people in some of Brazil’s most disadvantaged favelas and, with a business model which could be rolled-out to benefit communities across the world.

Highlighting Insolar’s collaboration with Shell, Henrique says, “Insolar contributes to a clean energy future by promoting the democratisation of solar energy in Brazil and, thanks to Shell, spreading the message overseas. We believe that inspiring by example is the best way to empower other entrepreneurs to follow similar paths and help us tackle the energy challenges of the future. Acting locally, thinking globally.”

Make the Future

In addition to Insolar, several other Shell LiveWIRE alumni are actively engaged with Shell’s #makethefuture campaign; the global platform to showcase and explore bright energy solutions. Make the Future (MTF) is collaborating with: bio-bean, from the UK, to explore how CO2 emissions from transport can be reduced by turning waste coffee grounds into sustainable transport fuel; Capture Mobility, initially from Pakistan but now based in Scotland, to generate clean power for local communities from traffic turbulence; and Pavegen, from the UK, to explore how to help power a US city neighbourhood sustainably by turning footsteps into electricity.

Shell LiveWIRE celebrated its 35th anniversary during the #makethefuture Accelerator event in London in May, with entrepreneurs, partners and stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. A special panel comprising five Shell LiveWIRE alumni, chaired by Jo Cochrane, enabled the speakers to share their business achievements and challenges on their entrepreneurial journeys.

One of the panel, Gary McEwan of Elevator, who won the UK Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 1993, is full of praise for Shell’s long-term support of LiveWIRE, saying, “I am very impressed by Shell’s commitment over the past decades in supporting enterprise development and fostering the growth of local economies.

“Winning the LiveWIRE UK final, back in 1993, was the beginning of a remarkable journey for me. I can track every success back to that day. My team of more than 100 members is now supporting about 2,500 new and growing businesses in Scotland every year.”

For 35 years, Shell LiveWIRE has had a positive impact on entrepreneurs starting and growing sustainable businesses that: create jobs; improve local economies and societies; provide clean energy solutions that power human progress; and, become part of Shell’s value chain, contributing to local content development. This long-term social investment underlines that Shell is fully committed to creating shared value today and tomorrow.

For more information on 35 years of Shell LiveWIRE please click here.



35 years of building enterprising futures
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